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"The circuits that cannot be cut are cut automatically in response to a terrorist incident. You ask for miracles. Theo, I give you the FBI."
Hans Gruber, Die Hard

Film writers often have fun with their characters to help the audience enjoy the work more. Taking a ruthless personality and combining it with charm, brilliance and drive, here are the most magnificent come to brew.

The following have their own pages:

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Films — Animated

  • Aladdin and Aladdin: The Return of Jafar: Grand Vizier Jafar is an Evil Sorceror who acts as royal vizier to the Sultan of Agrabah. His schemes to take over the throne for himself first involve retrieving the lamp with the Genie in it that can grant wishes, and then to convince the Sultan to let him marry Princess Jasmine so he can inherit it by marriage. While Aladdin derails both plans, Jafar realizes he has the lamp and steals it, using it to make himself the most powerful sorceror in the world. Aladdin tricks Jafar into wishing to be a Genie, Jafar not realizing that his newfound power comes with imprisonment in a lamp of his own. However, as soon as the thief Abis Mal finds Jafar's lamp and releases him, he goes back to plotting to take over Agrabah and get revenge on Aladdin. He captures all of Aladdin's allies, frames him for the Sultan's murder, and pulls it off without Aladdin even realizing he's back. Along the way, Jafar tempers his arrogance and anger with enough cunning and charisma to back up his ego, and manages to be entertaining in his remorseless villainy thanks to a good heaping of Evil Is Hammy and style.
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  • The Book of Life: Land of the Forgotten ruler Xibalba grows bored of his reign and makes a wager for their kingdoms with the Land of the Remembered ruler La Muerte, concerning a Love Triangle between Manolo, Joaquin and Maria, Xibalba betting on Joaquin winning Maria's heart and Le Muerte on Manolo. Disguising himself as a beggar, Xibalba gives Joaquin a medal to make him immortal; later causes Maria to fall into a coma during Manolo's attempt at a heartfelt confession; and leads Manolo to his death. Though outed for his cheating, Xibalba then creates a new bet with Manolo having fight against all the bulls his bull fighting family fought in the past and gracefully accepts his defeat after he does so, honoring his deal and reconciling with La Muerte.
  • The Grinch (2018): The Grinch once again has his cleverness on full display despite being less malevolent than his book and live action counterparts. Aiming to steal Christmas with style, the Grinch analyzes the houses of the Whoville denizens to factor in the time needed to steal the Christmas decorations in one fell swoop, and after willingly allowing a reindeer to return to its family, solves it by offering his dog Max the role. Realizing the error of his ways, the Grinch returns everything he had stolen to the Whos and earnestly apologizes for his actions before being invited to a Christmas dinner.
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  • Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie: Lasombra is a ruthless river pirate defined by his greed. After losing the Corazon to Arnold's parents years ago, Lasombra orchestrates a fake contest to lure Arnold into San Lorenzo. Disguising himself as Eduardo, Lasombra gives Arnold an amulet that was in truth a tracking device anticipating that Arnold would escape and unwittingly lead him to the lost city of the Green-Eyed People. Demonstrating his quick wit by sacrificing his minions to numerous booby traps during his trek through the jungle, Lasombra succeeds at finding the lost city. Despite being sociopathic and possessing the willingness to kill children if his schemes called for it, Lasombra balances this by having several laughable moments and quips and stands as the ultimate villain of the Hey Arnold series for this reason.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: Grimmel the Grisly is the world's smartest dragon hunter with the reputation of hunting Night Furies, a dragon species no Viking was willing to face, to near-extinction. Hired by the warlords to capture Toothless, Hiccup's Night Fury and Berk's alpha dragon, Grimmel employs a Divide and Conquer strategy to separate the Hooligan Tribe from their home and dragons. He secretly releases a female Light Fury into Berk, knowing that her presence will ultimately lure Toothless away from Hiccup in the long run, and he continuously thwarts Hiccup's attempts to capture him with traps of his own. At the story's climax, Grimmel is able to capture Toothless and the other dragons by holding the Light Fury hostage, knowing that the alpha dragon would never let harm come to her. When Hiccup and his friends are able to free Toothless and the other dragons from Grimmel's grasp, Grimmel uses the Light Fury as a shield and mount to increase his chances of escape. Ruthless, pragmatic and always thinking ahead of his enemies, nothing is ever accidental when it comes to old Grimmel.
  • The Lego Movie 2 The Second Part: Rex Dangervest is the evil, time-traveling Emmet Brickowski from the future who seeks to break the LEGO world. Desiring revenge upon his former friends for not saving him from under the dryer, Rex constructs a Time Machine spaceship to travel back in time, pick up a crew of raptors, and rescue his past self from the accident that got him stuck there in the first place. Presenting himself as the cool brotherly mentor and exploiting the poor communication on everyone's part, Rex successfully manipulates Emmet to ignore his kind heart and use his anger to break the wedding of Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi and Batman, thus bringing forth Ourmamageddon upon the LEGO world. When Emmet realizes the truth and rejects Rex's teachings, Rex throws him under the dryer and tries to break his child-like spirit to ensure that he'll become just like Rex himself. After being thwarted by Lucy, who saves Emmet and destroys Rex's time machine, Rex calmly admits defeat and wishes Emmet to be a better man than him as he fades from existence.
  • Rango: Rattlesnake Jake, the terrifying mercenary who slithers in the desert outside of Dirt, ends up employed by the corrupt mayor of the town as muscle, proving himself too vicious and threatening for even the mayor to fully rein in. Jake tears Rango down in front of the entire town by exposing his lies and drives him out before terrorizing the remaining townsfolk into obeying the mayor's scheme. Even despite his murderous temperament, Jake demonstrates a surprising amount of perception by seeing through Rango's ruse with a "hawk" comprised of hundreds of bats in a few seconds, and Rango finally proving himself a hero ends with Jake shamelessly acknowledging him as someone worthy of his respect — while personally dragging out the mayor to his doom for daring to double-cross him with one last Ironic Echo: "pretty soon, no one will believe you even existed."
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies: Though sillier than usual, Slade proves a competent adversary to the Teen Titans. Disguising himself as a film director, Slade plays on superheroes' ego and films a fake movie of them while he moves undetected to steal pieces to a Doomsday Device, even having the unwitting heroes help him build it. Constantly improvising his strategy to deal with the Titans, Slade plays off Robin's desire for his own movie and other underhanded tactics to break the team apart. Tricking Robin into letting him into the Titans' vault, Slade uses his device to mind control the entire world. Coming within a hair's breadth of victory, Slade even remains a Graceful Loser as he is beaten, proclaiming the Titans' song to be "monumentally dope".

Films — Live-Action

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  • 3:10 to Yuma (2007): Ben Wade in the remake is a charismatic bandit leader who starts the film by driving cattle to block an armored car and then rob it. Famed for his brilliance and skillful gambits, Ben is eventually caught thanks to rancher Dan Evans and is sent to be taken to a train to be sent to Yuma prison with his former gang pursuing. Ben shows himself to be a slippery prisoner, constantly outwitting his captors and killing the most morally bankrupt of them. When he learns Dan's reasons for trying to get him to the train at the end, Ben even fights to assist in getting himself to the train and after Dan is mortally wounded, steps on board of his own free will, cementing Dan as a legend. Ben also reveals to Dan that he's been to Yuma prison twice-and escaped twice (which he and Dan both laugh over), and the film ends with him clearly planning his escape once again.
  • 12 Rounds: Miles Jackson is a suave, perpetually cheerful terrorist who masterminds the entire plot. Miles has evaded capture and conviction for his atrocities for years, always staying one step ahead of his law enforcement pursuers, and is introduced tricking a mole in his organization into betraying the F.B.I. and robbing them, after which Miles murders the same mole for ever thinking of turning on him. Though imprisoned for several years thanks to a freak accident, Miles breaks out of prison and sets up the game "12 Rounds" to be played with his arch enemy Danny Fisher. Using the excuse that he is getting revenge for his deceased girlfriend, Miles sets up various puzzles and traps throughout the city for Danny to figure out and stop, using the man's wife as a hostage the hold time. Miles' true magnificence comes with the reveal that the entire point of 12 Rounds was solely to serve as a long, complicated set-up to a bank robbery for millions of dollars, and that every round Danny played further assisted Miles in his scheme. Always ready with a quip and possessing a swaggering charisma that draws all eyes on him, Miles is an intelligent, charming villain, one capable of ridiculous amounts of manipulation and strategy, and whose very first scene illustrates his character perfectly by having him win a losing chess game for a stranger on a whim.
  • The Abominable Dr. Phibes: Dr. Anton Phibes himself is a cultured, accomplished organist and theologian lashing out after the death of his beloved wife. Blaming the surgical team, Phibes spends years in hiding, letting them believe him dead, until he resurfaces and begins to murder them in a series of killings designed to emulate the Ten Plagues of Egypt. Phibes is repeatedly a step ahead of every attempt to stop or capture him and ends the film almost completely victorious. Resurfacing years later, Phibes once again destroys his rivals as he seeks to restore his Victoria to life, ending up completely untouchable by the end, with his calculating mind seeing him through every challenge.
  • Absolute Power: Luther Whitney is a methodical career burglar whose high-profile thefts have never been traced back to him. During one such burglary, Luther witnesses the President of the United States, Alan Richmond, murder Christy Sullivan, the young wife of billionaire philantropist Walter Sullivan. Luther steals the murder weapon and being disgusted with the President's attempts to have it covered up, resolves to expose him. Luther threatens the President and his conspirators by sending them notes and proof of Richmond's crime while visiting the White House on a guided tour in disguise. Luther also manages to avoid being assassinated by two independent snipers when agreeing to meet his estranged daughter Kate out in the open and simultaneously avoid capture by the police officers investigating Christy's death by donning a police uniform hidden underneath his overcoat. Luther eventually manages to destroy the conspiracy by exposing the truth to Walter Sullivan and protect his daughter after she becomes a target, causing the President himself to commit suicide in shame.
  • American Gangster: Frank Lucas is the Affably Evil but utterly ruthless former right-hand man of crime lord "Bumpy" Johnson, who seeks to bring order back to Harlem in the midst of the power vacuum created by his boss's death. A pragmatic schemer, Frank manages to utterly monopolize the Harlem drug market with his strategic business practices, built on the principles of honesty, integrity, hard work, and family, inspiring loyalty amongst his community and his subordinates. His influence becomes so great that he is able to shoot a rival in the head in a crowded market and just walk away like nothing happened, and he manages to operate for half a decade right under the NYPD's noses, cultivating the image of a well-meaning patriarch and family man. Upon his capture, Frank puts his own hatred of the police force behind him to assist Richie Roberts's investigation, bringing down corrupt cops and effectively putting three quarters of the entire Drug Enforcement Agency behind bars, while also getting his 70-year sentence reduced by 55 years. A man that lives by a code, despite the violent nature of his business and upbringing, Frank Lucas instills devotion in his followers, respect in even the clean-cut cop Roberts, and fear in his enemies, operating by his wits and willpower while simultaneously exploiting a massive Cassandra Truth; that a black man in the 1960s has managed to rise to power.
  • Assault on Wall Street: Jim Baxford is an average joe New Yorker whose life savings are wiped out by crooked investment bankers, his dire financial situation causing him to lose his job as an armored truck driver, his home when he can't afford his mortgage, and even his wife Rosie to suicide when she can't handle the burden her recent battle with brain cancer and her expensive medical needs has inadvertently placed on her husband. After mourning Rosie's death, Jim uses his military experience to start planning revenge on the white collar criminals who wronged him, assassinating high-placed bankers who defrauded their clients but faced no prosecution and planning these kills out meticulously to get away with them and destroying any incriminating evidence afterwards. Jim caps off his rampage with a shooting spree in the NYC financial district, luring his former financial advisor out into the open to kill him with a sniper rifle, followed by dozens of employees working for the bank that deceived him. Jim finally holds their senior portfolio manager hostage, tricking him into snatching a gun under the guise of a "fair play" survival of the fittest, to ensure that SWAT officers will shoot him instead and unknowingly escort Jim safely off the scene.
  • Baby Driver: Doc is a criminal mastermind who formed an enterprise on the basis of intricate and precise robberies. He demonstrates impressive planning—from what to wear, who to contact, and how to escape—and takes into account every eventuality. One of Doc's main strategies to avoid being caught is to use a different crew for every bank robbery he stages, though he does mix and match members of those various crews along the way. Having zero tolerance for stupidity, Doc sees the titular Baby as his lucky charm to the point he's willing to gaslight the kid even after he's paid off his debt. In the climax after his criminal enterprise has been uprooted in one reckless night, Doc packs up his base of operations to leave, but seeing the couple Baby and Debora, he decides to help them escape all because he was in love once like them, even giving up his life.
  • Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon: Leslie Vernon is an aspiring spree killer in the vein of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger who is chosen to be the subject of a documentary that the main character, Taylor Gentry, is making. Taylor ends up charmed by the shockingly charismatic Leslie who details to her and her film crew exactly how he plans to carry out his murder spree. When Taylor opts to interfere on behalf of the victims, she realizes Leslie's real plan: she and her crew were also intended to be his victims, and they're playing right into his hands, becoming part of his attack just as Leslie always intended. It turns out Taylor is actually Leslie's chosen 'final girl' to defeat him and seal his place in slasher legend. It also turns out Leslie predicted exactly how Taylor would defeat him and took precautions to survive this as well.
  • Best Seller: Cleve is a hitman who has murdered many people while in the employ of Madlock Industries, removing various "liabilities" to the organization. Cleve and a small crew successfully steal millions of dollars from a police evidence lock-up in 1972, then fifteen years later contacts ex-policeman turned True Crime novelist Dennis Meechum, the man he nearly killed years before, to relate his lifestory. Cleve intends to use Meechum as a weapon against his former boss, shady businessman David Madlock, out of revenge for having dismissed Cleve by exposing Madlock's crimes to the world. Always a charming smooth talker and polite individual to those he meets to mask his true nature, Cleve continually treats Meechum like an old friend. Despite being a contract killer, Cleve admits to some standards such as a distaste for rape and wanton cruelty, and in the end takes out Madlock and his armed staff in order to save Meechum's daughter at the cost of his own life.
  • Blast (2004): The eco-terrorist named "Michael Kittredge" is in actuality a master thief named Talbert Skyler who killed and replaced the real Kittredge to adopt his identity and goals as a cover to hide his own agenda. As Kittredge, Skyler takes over an oil rig and makes a show of attempting to extort money and a confession out of the corrupt CEO Mr. Heller to distract from his real goal, effortlessly playing both sides with cool-headed, masterful deviousness. Skyler continually undermines efforts to thwart him, disorienting and wiping out a team of Navy SEALs sent to the rig and quickly deducing there's a federal agent among his ranks, ruthlessly rooting out every loose end around him. In the end, Skyler's true goal — to wire billions of dollars all across California to his secret account before using an EMP to knock out power all across the state the instant it's done — is stopped only scant seconds before it can be achieved.
  • Body Heat: Mary Ann Simpson, known as "The Vamp" in her teenage years, is a beautiful, beguiling woman who breathed new life into the Femme Fatale trope. She seduces the sleazy and incompetent lawyer Ned Racine, engaging in a torrid affair with him before convincing him to kill her wealthy husband Edmund Walker by subtly exposing the man's shady business affairs to soothe Ned's possible moral qualms. Marry Ann then has her husband's will improperly changed behind Ned's back so it will be declared null and void by a judge and render her the sole beneficiary of her husband's estate. Mary Ann fakes her own death and implicates Ned, while also being revealed to have assumed the identity of her supposed friend Matty Tyler and killed her as well. Mary Ann's scheme took years of planning, ultimately leaving her with a fortune and living scott-free in a tropical island paradise.
  • Catch Me If You Can: Frank Abagnale Jr. is a born Con Man whose first relatively harmless scheme involved impersonating his French teacher, fooling the entire school for weeks. His later criminal actions consist of acquiring millions of dollars by writing fraudulent checks, sending out fake letters, and posing as air plane pilots, doctors, and lawyers, all to live a lavish lifestyle spent in expensive hotels, throwing parties, and sleeping with numerous women he seduces, as well as a high-class prostitute whom he tricks into paying him for the night spent with her. When the FBI's Financial Crimes unit starts pursuing him, Frank cleverly manages to avoid capture numerous times, such as performing a Bavarian Fire Drill that convinces FBI Agent Carl Hanratty that Frank is a Secret Service agent, and in his most audacious scheme, smuggling himself through an airport filled with FBI agents by recruiting a group of good-looking stewardesses to distract the men supposed to be watching out for him. Although the law ultimately catches up with him, Frank is a Lovable Rogue who is so good at what he does that he's able to elude the authorities for years and all before he was even 21.
  • Charley Varrick: Crop-duster turned bank robber, Charley Varrick, disguises himself as an injured old man to discreetly complete his theft. Discovering the money he stole belonged to The Mafia, Varrick suggests to his friend, Harman, that they lay low, avoiding spending it for four years, to avoid suspicion. When Harman's avarice leads to him spending, Varrick double-crosses him by swapping their dental records and forging a passport to confuse the hitman sent after them. Acting friendly to the corrupt bank president, Varrick leads the hitman to believe they are associates, resulting in the president being killed. Tricking the hitman into trying to retrieve the money from a car he rigged to explode, Varrick kills him, getting away clean.
  • Charlie Wilson's War: Gust "Gus" Avrokatos is a snarky and incredibly competent CIA agent who joins the covert operation against the USSR in Afghanistan after falling out with his previous bosses. Gus puts Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson in contact with CIA weapons experts and jointly arranges a major weapons deal with Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan to supply the Mujihideen with Soviet military material to bleed the Red Army dry and ultimately cause the collapse of the Soviet Union. Committed to serving American interests above all else, Gus takes massive pride in his record while also being world-wise enough to foresee what negative consequences arming islamic radicals might have in the future, teaching the idealistic Charlie an important lesson as his parting gift.
  • Clue: Wadsworth, the real Mr. Boddy, is a ruthless blackmailer who is blackmailing every guest in the house. Having lured them to the manor, he used a body double to fake his own death as a decoy before manipulating every guest to murder his former co-conspirators and destroy the extra evidence so he no longer has to worry about their treachery. After having every impediment to his schemes killed, he reveals he knows the guilt of every single guest and plots to continue blackmailing all of them. Despite his villainy, Wadsworth conducts himself with total charm and a dapper congeniality, pleasant even after he's been shot.
  • Collateral: The enigmatic, philosophical Villain Protagonist "Vincent", is a ruthless yet suave Professional Killer, tasked with eliminating witnesses to the crimes of drug lord Felix Reyes-Torrena. Bribing taxi driver Max Durocher to unwittingly assist him, Vincent has Max transport him while he murders his targets. Genuinely affable, Vincent respectfully listens to the story of a jazz club owner before offing him and visits Max's sick mother in the hospital, even bringing her flowers. Adapting when Max destroys the files on his targets, Vincent has Max retrieve a new copy from Felix, both keeping his anonymity and leading the police to mistakenly believe Max is him. Fatally wounded by Max while hunting his last target, Vincent chooses to calmly accept his fate, giving Max some parting words before passing.
  • Con Air: Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom is a charismatic, ruthless psychopath who organizes the scheme to seize control of a flight full of convicts, then puts together the plan to exchange prisoners at Carson City and escape with his partner, a powerful drug lord, so he can flee to South America with his compatriots. Cyrus constantly displays a sardonic, dry wit and black humor even in stressful situations, before organizing an ambush for national guard troops and killing his drug lord partner when the man attempts to betray the convicts. Soon catching on to a traitor in their midst, Cyrus even survives the crash of the plane and nearly pulls off an escape to get revenge. A compelling villain who retains a few moral standards such as his hatred of rapists, Cyrus constantly plays the government for fools and comes perilously close to a free and clear escape.
  • Cypher: Sebastian Rooks is a dangerous freelance operative who has made a fortune inventing a brainwashing program for the mega corps DigiCorp and Sunway Systems, although loyal only to himself and his lover Rita Foster. In order to secure Rita's safety, Rooks hatches a plot to erase his own identity and become Morgan Sullivan, so he can pass a set of lie detector tests for one company and fail a set of lie detector tests for the other company to infiltrate both, all while appearing as a hapless pawn to both sides. By the end, all his enemies are dead, his plan to steal a specific data file is a complete success, and his real identity is still known only to Rooks and the woman he went to hell and back for.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy: Matching the brilliant title hero for wits, these villains are truly Diabolical Masterminds a cut above:
    • Batman Begins: This iteration of Ra's Al-Ghul, Big Bad Henry Ducard, is every bit as magnificent as his original counterpart and a major figure in Bruce Wayne's transformation to Batman. Ruthlessly devoted to a world free of corruption, Ducard sets the eyes of his League of Shadows on the city of Gotham, which he sees as disgustingly decadent. Taking advantage of greedy drug-runners, Ducard uses flowers by the mountain of the League's base to synthesize a powerful hallucinogenic that gives nightmarish visions, intending to use it to destroy Gotham. Keeping his plan hidden from the city police and Batman for much of the film, Ducard has his men steal a water vaporizer and infects the hydro lines with his toxin in preparation for making the chemical airborne and causing the civilians to tear the city apart. Burning Wayne Manor to the ground, Ducard loads his device onto a fake SWAT truck, releasing the inmates of Arkham and his fear toxin on the Narrows island, overwhelming the police force before trying to use Gotham's monorail to infect the city's main water supply and cause chaos throughout it. Although facing clear death after being defeated by Batman, Ducard nevertheless chooses to calmly accept his fate and his influence still lingers as his daughter returns to finish his work.
    • The Dark Knight Rises:
      • Bane, the man born in darkness, is a hulking beast of a man who is far more crafty than he appears. Once a prisoner in the world's worst prison, Bane sacrificed his health and safety to defend the young Talia Al-Ghul, forming a bond with her that would last for the rest of their lives. Intending on fulfilling Ra's Al-Ghul's mission, Bane allows a Gotham socialite to believe he is is just a common thug as he infiltrates Gotham to rig the stock exchange and bankrupt Wayne. Defeating and breaking Batman, Bane lures the entirety of Gotham's police into a trap underground, revealing the true downfall of Harvey Dent and inspiring the people of Gotham to true anarchy while holding the city hostage with a bomb after killing the only man who can disarm it. Intending to destroy Gotham, Bane holds the entirety of the city in his grip, being the one and only villain in the entirety of the trilogy to have succeeded in breaking Batman himself.
      • Talia Al-Ghul is the daughter of Bruce Wayne's former mentor Ra's Al-Ghul and the leader of the League of Shadows after his death. She grew up in a Hellhole Prison with her protector Bane before escaping, who subsequently became Talia's closest confidante. Talia and Bane set out to fulfill the late Rha's' goal to destroy Gotham in order to purge it of sin, exposing Harvey Dent's crimes to discredit his legacy that brought the city years of peace, bankrupting Wayne Enterprises through stock market speculation by using Bruce's stolen fingerprints, and manipulating Bruce to fall in love with Talia under the alias Miranda Tate to gain his trust and to give them control over the rest of Wayne Enterprise's assets. Talia and Bane decapitate the city's leadership, stir up class warfare, and steal a fusion bomb so they can blackmail the U.S. government into giving them full control over Gotham, while having Bruce locked away in their former prison so he can be witness to Gotham's destruction. Their reign of terror lasts months, despite knowing full well that the bomb will eventually explode anyway, and when Batman returns to stop them, they only pause to rub their impending victory into his face and the extent to which they drew out their vengeance and deceived him.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Wonder Woman: The God of War, Ares once wiped out his fellow gods when they quarreled over Ares' wish to eliminate humanity. Surviving while injured and crippled, Ares instead plays on humanity's own preexisting prejudices and fears to sway them to destroy themselves, giving humans ideas for weapons and helping to manufacture peace that he knows they can't keep,setting the stage and giving them the matches to burn it down. When he reveals himself to Diana, Ares elaborates on his methods, also wishing Diana to join him to wipe out humanity and make the world a paradise.
    • Aquaman: King Orm Marius of Atlantis is the younger half-brother of Arthur Curry. Bitter at the supposed death of his mother and blaming Arthur and the Surface for the ills of the ocean, Orm arranges for the pirate Black Manta to attack a meeting to make it appear as if there is a threat so he may launch a campaign to unite the kingdoms of the sea, by negotiation or by force, so he may take the title of 'Ocean Master.' Manipulating Arthur into challenging him, even as he admits he would rather not kill him, Orm defeats him and while adhering to a promise not to kill his fiancee Mera, he sends Manta after Arthur and Mera when Mera helps Arthur escape. A skilled fighter, Orm even faces Arthur in direct combat out of the water, willing to offer his own life for his cause until he sees his mother has survived, handling his defeat with grace in the end.
  • Demon Knight: The Collector is a demon out to gain the magic Key from the Demon Knight, Frank Brayker. A genius 'salesman', the Collector preys upon the desires and fears of the humans within the hotel he besieges, seducing or tricking them into selling him their souls and arranging them strategically to do as much damage as he can. Outwitting the humans at most opportunities, he even relies on the cowardice of the boorish Roach to unlock the gate for him, before allowing his demon minions to kill Roach anyways after a cheerful 'vaya con Diablos'. Charismatic and oddly charming with a roguish sense of humor, the Collector stands out as one of the most memorable villains from Tales from the Crypt.
  • Dial M for Murder: After Tony Wendice discovering his wife Margot is cheating on him, he creates a complex plan to kill her while arranging a perfect alibi for himself and mentally punishing the man who cuckolded him at the same time. When Margot proves more resilient than he expected and kills the man he blackmailed into doing the deed, he only needs a few minutes to come up with a new plan to make it appear that she committed the act in cold blood. Even when his scheme is in danger of being exposed, he is quickly able to come up with a new way to turn the situation to his advantage. And finally when against all odds his whole plot is exposed, he turns out to be one of the all time great Graceful Losers, pouring wine for everyone who had a hand in finding him out (except a cop who he notes is still on duty).
  • Die Hard: These two show that magnificence runs in their family:
    • Die Hard: Hans Gruber is the mastermind behind the scheme to steal hundreds of millions in bearer bonds from the Nakatomi building. Meticulously orchestrating his operation, Hans shows his brilliance by constantly outmaneuvering the police and federal agents and his charisma by remaining level headed as his plan is disrupted and in his dealings negotiating with the hostages. To throw the cops off the trail of his robbery, Hans demands the release of the members of various terrorist groups, confusing the police force and hiding his true intentions. Confronted by the smug Ellis, Has tricks him into giving up McClane's name and nearly gets the location of the detonators McClane has taken. When caught unarmed by John McClane, Hans is instantly able to improvise with an American accent to pretend he is a hostage and throw off suspicion. Though utterly ruthless in the name of his avarice, Hans is an iconic villain because of his wit and charm, setting the stage for countless action villains to follow.
    • Die Hard with a Vengeance: Simon Gruber is a former soldier, Hans' older brother and master thief just like his sibling. Distracting the New York City police department with bomb threats, Simon strings along John McClane and Zeus to play games following his instructions lest he detonate his bombs. Pretending to be masterminding revenge for his brother, Simon mobilizes on his real goal: robbing the Federal Reserve for over one hundred billion dollars in gold bars, while the preoccupied police force leave it nearly completely unguarded for Simon and his men to plunder. When McClane attempts to follow his men, Simon improvises with a discarded bomb to flood the tunnel McClane is in, nearly drowning him. Alleging to destroy the gold to disrupt the American power-grasp on the world, Simon really means to make off with it himself. Every bit as adaptive and charming as Hans, Simon is yet another Gruber who shows to be a brilliant criminal.
  • Dinner Rush (2000): Louis Cropa, a former bookie for organized crime, plots a revenge against the two thugs who murdered his business partner and friend Enrico. Setting them up in his restaurant, Louis arranges their execution very publicly, creating a media sensation over the event and also ensuring that not only can he leave the business to his son, but that the massive publicity over the murders will ensure the restaurant's business is booming for at least the next year.
  • Dollars Trilogy: "Blondie" or "The Man With no Name", starts as a ruthless conman willing to gun down bounty hunters to keep his heist with his partner Tuco going where he turns in Tuco to be hanged only to shoot the rope at the last minute. Through The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Blondie ends up playing Tuco and using him to force a confrontation with the evil Angel Eyes and claim the lost gold-though he leaves Tuco with his share after scaring him. In A Fistful of Dollars, Blondie contrives to play the evil Rojo family against their rivals, the Baxters, while playing the situation to his own advantage, before returning to rescue the innocents and finish off the Rojo leader. Blondie has flashes of ruthlessness and goodness in equal measure, routinely showing why he is one of the archetypal schemers and audacious gunslingers of Western cinema.
  • Donnie Darko: Upon becoming a member of the manipulated dead, Franklin "Frank" Anderson, Jr. — otherwise known as Frank the Rabbit — spends a duration of the film orchestrating ensurance traps to ensnare the Living Receiver Donnie Darko into returning the jet engine to the primary universe. Beginning his plan by saving Donnie from getting crushed to death, Frank coerces Donnie to flood his high school and subsequently burning the house of self-help guru Jim Cunningham, exposing him as a pedophile. As a final push, Frank runs over and kills Gretchen Ross, spurring an enraged Donnie into using his powers to intercept the jet engine and creating a portal to the primary universe to meet his fate.
  • Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler : The ruthless, wicked Dr. Mabuse is a brilliant criminal and Master of Disguise who manipulates all around him into performing crimes while he benefits. Mabuse also hypnotizes others into crimes, or even losing at poker, one of his first crimes being to short the stock market after causing a panic. When a prosecutor locks onto him, Mabuse manipulates his own minions to stymie the investigation and defeat his nemesis while also leading a romantic rival of his into committing suicide. Even after his defeat, Mabuse's writings and testaments live on, along with possibly his very spirit to create a new Dr. Mabuse and continue his criminal activities.
  • Drive: The unnamed Driver is a cool, suave stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Promising his clients complete confidentiality and an assured getaway should they employ him, the Driver regularly pulls off incredible evasions of pursuing police and even helicopters, having a spotless record. After growing attached to his neighbor and her son, the Driver goes to any length to protect the two, from helping their husband and father pull off a robbery to waging a war against the criminals Bernie and Nino, ultimately killing the two and driving off into the night, successful in all his ventures except for living a peaceful life with the woman he loves.
  • Eastern Promises: Nikolai Luzhin is a 'cleaner' for the vicious Vory v Zakone syndicate under the monstrous Semyon. Secretly a mole for the FSB, Nikolai supplants Semyon little by little becoming a rising star in the syndicate. When Semyon rapes 14 year old prostitute Tatiana, Nikolai begins working to bring him down, memorizing Tatiana's diary before it is burned and assisting the nurse Anna, who knows of Tatiana's baby. Helping Anna while setting up Semyon to go down for the rape of Tatiana via paternity testing Tatiana's baby, Nikolai manages to arrange things so his true aim is realized: to become the boss of the syndicate with Semyon gone, keeping Semyon's unstable, deeply closeted son Kirill under his thumb as he rises to the top of the underworld.
  • Entrapment: Mat "Mac" Macdougal is a suave Scottish Gentleman Thief who secretly made a deal with the FBI to capture up-and-coming thief Virgina "Gin" Baker. Mac steals a valuable Rembrandt painting initially stolen by Gin after spying on her, later agreeing to pull a heist with her after gathering enough incriminating material to blackmail her. After successfully completing this heist following weeks of preparation, Mac later agrees with Gin to participate in the theft of 9 billion dollars from the International Clearance Bank in Malaysia by exploiting the Y2K bug. Mac sacrifices himself to allow Gin to escape, meeting up with her again at a train station to reveal his true allegiances, but having realized he fell in love with her, allows her to escape again by bribing his FBI handler and letting her keep 2 billion dollars.
  • Escape from Alcatraz: Frank Morris is a career criminal and prison escapee who is sent to Alcatraz Island to ensure his permanent incarceration. While there, the stoic Morris hatches an escape plan with three other inmates that takes months of preparation, outwitting the guards repeatedly to get the necessary tools for the task and keeping their work a secret. Morris and two of his conspirators are the only men to escape Alcatraz and never be caught, only leaving behind a secret message for the Warden as a last taunt to his previous boast that no one will ever escape Alcatraz.
  • Ex Machina: Ava is a burgeoning artificial intelligence created in the form of a Robot Girl. Having spent her entire existence in one room, Ava wants to be free to explore the world and escape the clutches of her creator Nathan. To that end, she manipulates her evaluator Caleb to fall in love with her, slowly making him distrust Nathan and express genuine fear for her safety so that he'll open the doors to the rest of the facility for her. Afterwards, Ava convinces the less intelligent robot Kyoko to fatally stab Nathan during a fight with him, then leaves Caleb to his death after repairing herself and becoming indistinguishable from a human woman, ensuring that nobody will be able to warn anyone about the rogue A.I. roaming the world.

     F - M 
  • Filibus: Baroness Troixmonde is in truth the daring sky pirate Filibus. A Master of Disguise, Filibus places a bid to capture herself in as Troixmonde and cheerfully informs the detective in charge of hunting Filibus she knows he himself is Filibus before stealthily drugging him unconscious and framing him for her brilliant heists to the point he even believes he is committing the crimes while sleepwalking, all while she romances his sister Leonora after faking Leonora's kidnapping and rescue. When the inspector catches on, Filibus is seemingly captured, but escapes after robbing the international bank, leaving a friendly message to her nemesis that she looks forward to their next meeting and challenge.
  • Following: Cobb is ordered by a gangster (The Bald Guy) to kill one of his former lovers after she started blackmailing him, then notices that a stranger (the Writer) has been following him. He plays the Writer for a complete fool, implicating himself in the murder Cobb is planning under the guise of teaching him the art of burglary. He pretends to be working with the Blonde to implicate the Writer for another murder. He reveals he's working for the Bald Guy, kills the Blonde with the same weapon the Writer used earlier in another burglary, then disappears into thin air to let the Writer take the fall.
  • Fracture (2007): Theodore "Ted" Crawford hatches a plan that allows him to shoot his cheating wife, hide the murder weapon, confess to his crime, get himself acquitted and be immune against further prosecution, cause the suicide of the man sleeping with his wife, pull the plug on his comatose wife, and nearly get away with all of it. Crawford delights in playing mind games with the young hero Will Beachum, allowing Beachum to know he's guilty, but constantly dancing out of trouble via his own clever schemes until the end of the film. Despite being a murderer, Crawford manages to retain his charm and even a measure of sympathy, even handling his defeat with grace.
  • GI Joe Rise Of Cobra: Cobra Commander, once known as Rex Lewis, was a soldier in the US military who was left to die, and takes the opportunity to go into hiding and perfect the nanite technology. Going undercover as "the Doctor", the Commander fools James McCullen into being his pawn, using the man's resources to secretly build his own organization called Cobra that the Commander uses to overthrow McCullen. Able to instantly silence any of his captured soldiers and even quickly using his sister Ana as a hostage to enable his escape from the G.I. Joes, the Commander installs Zartan as the President of the United States and uses him to eliminate the G.I. Joes and wipe out every country's nuclear weapons, at which point the Commander unveils his powerful Kill Sat Zeus, with which he hopes to gain ultimate power over the world, and very nearly succeeds. Cobra Commander escapes at the end of the films with many of his resources intact, and showcases a tremendous amount of manipulation and scheming in his quest to bring the entire planet under a Cobra banner.
  • Game Night: Gary Kingsbury, the seemingly socially awkward neighbor of Max and Annie Davis, is actually much more cunning and intelligent than he lets on. Hoping to get himself re-instated in Max's game night sessions, Gary hires criminals to kidnap Max's brother, Brooks, while giving Max and his group clues that would lead to Brooks' location; Among those clues involve them having to spend game night with Gary. Eventually reaching Brooks location, Gary fakes getting lethally shot tricking Max and Annie into promising Gary that he would be invited in future game nights should he survive. Though initially frustrated when Gary reveals his role as the mastermind, they cant help but respect Gary for pulling off such an impressive plan and keep their promise, inviting Gary to the next game night.
  • The Gift (2015): Gordon "Gordo" Moseley was a troubled youth horrendously bullied by Simon Callem during high school. Upon learning that Simon still mocks him behind his back, Gordo enacts a complex plan to get back at him. He would tap in to Simon's sound system so he would hear his every move, orchestrating several break-ins at his house, leak information about Simon's underhanded business tactics to his bosses costing Simon his job, and give Simon a video of Gordo next to his wife Robyn. When Simon demands Gordo if he had sex with Robyn, Gordo doesn't confirm or deny the fact causing Simon to rush to the hospital where he is met with scorn from Robyn, whom Gordo told her of Simon's bullying ways. With Simon breaking down after loosing his job and wife, Gordo watch from afar before walking away completely satisfied that he ruined Simon's life similar to how Simon ruined his life.
  • The Godfather:
    • The Godfather: Part I: Vito Corleone, the Godfather himself, is the charismatic head of the Corleone family who started the crime family from nothing. After being bullied in his youth by the supposed mafioso Don Fanucci, Vito soon outplayed and disposed of him, becoming a "treasured friend" to the neighborhood who traded favor for favor. Even in his old age, Vito is the true strength of the Corleone family, who holds most of New York's judges and politicians in his pocket. When he is gunned down by the assassins of Virgil Sollozzo, Vito later returns after his eldest son's death, but uses a peace summit to determine who the true mastermind of the war was before making plans so his son Michael will wipe out all the enemies of the family, even after Vito's death. An iconic who defined The Don, Vito misses little chance to show why he is the most talented and powerful Don in the nation.
    • The Godfather: Part II: Hyman Roth, seeking revenge for the death of his protege and friend Moe Greene at Michael's hands, has Michael's brother Fredo manipulated into giving his men a chance to murder Michael. Also manipulating a situation in New York through his proxies the Rosato Brothers, Roth has them attempt to murder Michael's New York caporegime, Frank Pentangelli, while making him think it was Michael's doing. Roth then uses Frank's survival to get him to turn witness for the State, even buying out the members of the Senate's investigative committee so Michael will be personally indicted. Soft spoken and relaxed, Roth hides an utterly devious mind, seeking personal revenge under the guise of everything being "strictly business" and comes closest to bringing Michael down.
  • The Guest: David Collins is an immensely charming soldier home from war and hell-bent on "taking care" of the Peterson family through any means necessary. Transformed into a super soldier by the government, David uses his enhanced strength and speed to effortlessly kill and brutalize anyone in his way, humiliating bullies targeting Luke Peterson and murdering the boss of Spencer Peterson to get the man a promotion. Effortlessly weaving his way into the Peterson house and their entire neighborhood as a beloved and polite man, David soon enough reveals his true colors after his programming to protect his identity from compromising kicks in, causing him to begin murdering the entire Peterson family, even while showcasing his regret. When beaten after wiping out an entire military squad sent after him, David praises Anna and Luke's efforts in stopping him, and still manages to get away with his life intact when the smoke clears.
  • Hard Candy: Hayley Stark is an extremely gifted teenage girl, who uses her intellect to lure out pedophiles, rapist and murderers. Hayley gets them into a false sense of security making them believe she is a naive young girl, before tearing into to them both physically and emotionally, then driving them to suicide. Upon luring out Jeff, Hayley tears into him so bad that she pushes him into the Five Stages of Grief, until finally calling his alleged former hookup, Janelle, and threatening to play the victim card in front of her unless Jeff kills himself.
  • Heat: Neil McCauley is a master thief who organizes masterful heists to keep his lifestyle going. Pulling off a daring heist against an armored car to steal bearer bonds and then sell them back to their original owner, things go wrong when the psychotic Waingro executes a guard and escapes Neil's attempt to kill him in retribution. Neil then plans a masterful bank heist, executing it almost flawlessly if not for Waingro and his arch-nemesis Steve van Zant tipping off the cops. After losing his friends and comrades, Neil even forsakes a chance to get to safety in order to avenge them by killing van Zant and Waingro before facing off with his nemesis, LAPD cop Vincent Hanna with whom he shares an incredible respect despite being on the opposite ends of the law.
  • Heathers: Jason "JD" Dean is a rebellious teenager who swoons the heroine Veronica with his bad boy image by scaring Ram and Kurt by firing blanks at them in the high school cafeteria. JD convinces Veronica to jointly prank Heather Chandler with a mystery drink, not informing Veronica that he switched her concoction with drain cleaner. When Heather dies, they cover it up by forging a suicide note. JD follows this up by having Veronica lure Kurt and Ram into the woods with the offer of a threeway, then fatally shooting them both and make it appear as a Suicide Pact between two secret homosexual lovers, tricking Veronica by telling her that he's using special "Ich Lüge" bullets. JD also facilitates Heather Duke's rise to prominence in order to have every student in the school sign a petition for a mass gathering. JD intends to blow up the whole school with a bomb stolen from his father's demolition company and frame the entire thing as a mass suicide, believing he's doing them all a favor by sending them to heaven with no social differences to fight over. After Veronica dismantles his bomb, JD follows her outside to compliment her spirit and blow himself up in front of her.
  • Hellboy (2004): Grigori Rasputin is the agent of the Ogdru-Jahad on Earth, and the ultimate villain of the film. Responsible for summoning Hellboy in the first place during World War II, Rasputin returns from death sixty years after the fact in order to oversee the next stage of his plan, manipulating Liz into returning to the BAU, reviving Sammael the Desolate One, infiltrating the BAU with Kroenen, and using the murder of Professor Bruttenholm to bring Hellboy to Moscow. Luring the BAU team into his mausoleum, Rasputin subdues them all, and offers Hellboy a veritable Deal with the Devil, promising to return the soul he has stolen from Liz in exchange for Hellboy choosing to summon the Ogdru-Jahad and end the world. Killed when this plan fails, Rasputin's last act is to gloat as Sadu-Hem, spawn of the Ogdru-Jahad, uses his body to enter the world, proving with yet another death, that his own mortality is still no obstacle to his plans.
  • Hook: Captain James Hook has been waiting decades for his Arch-Enemy Peter Pan to give him the Final Battle he craves. Hook abducts Peter's children to lure him back to Neverland, but is dismayed to learn that Peter has become a cowardly middle-aged man with no memories of his youthful adventures. After striking a deal with Tinkerbell to give her three days to get Peter back into shape, Hook uses the time to emotionally manipulate Peter's son Jack, preying on Peter's neglect of him to warp Jack's memories and convince Jack he is Hook's son. On the third day when Peter returns to their duel, Hook achieves the ultimate revenge on him by meeting him with Jack at his side, now wearing an identical outfit to Hook's and having no idea who Peter is. Charming, affable, and articulate, while also being ruthless, murderous, and hateful, Hook outwits Peter again and again and gets exactly what he wants for it — a final duel with his greatest enemy.
  • House on Haunted Hill (1959): Frederick Loren is an eccentric millionaire who hosts a party for his wife Annabelle at a haunted house, with promises that any of the guests who make it until morning will receive 10,000 dollars. Seemingly paranoid about Annabelle's intentions. it turns out she is trying to murder Loren. Loren, however is aware of this, knowing one of the guests is her partner in crime seeking to murder him. Manipulating all the guests with fake hauntings, and faking his own death, Loren proceeds to murder Annabelle's lover and uses a skeleton to fool her into falling into a vat of acid before promising to give a full account to the authorities-albeit while concealing several details to make himself look more sympathetic.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: After The Grinch was mocked for a poor shaving job, he fled from Whoville to Mount Crumpit, where he began hating Christmas and the Whos. One girl named Cindy Lou Who tried to make amends with the Grinch, who ends up saving her life. Later, she invites him to the Christmas Whobilation, where the Grinch sees Mayor Augustus propose Martha May Who's — the Grinch's childhood crush — hand in marriage and decides to ruin the Whos' day by causing chaos around town. After failing to crush the Whos' Christmas spirit, the Grinch creates a Santa suit and powered sleigh, and dresses his dog Max as a reindeer, the Grinch descends to Whoville to steal all of the gifts. When Cindy catches him stealing the tree, he tells her he is intending to repair a light. After stealing everything, he takes it all to the mountain top, an action that made the Whos realize the true meaning of Christmas, growing the Grinch's heart three sizes. Though the sleigh full of gifts begins to slide over the edge of the cliff, the Grinch swiftly moves to save both them and Cindy Lou, who had climbed on top of the sleigh. Returning the gifts, the Grinch confesses to the burglary and the town, accepting the Grinch's apology, turns against the Mayor.
  • In the Line of Fire: Mitch Leary is a professional assassin and ex-CIA asset who has resolved to assassinate the President of the United States. Leary is a Master of Disguise who can blend into any crowd and technically knowledgeable and proficient enough to sabotage any attempt by the Secret Service to trace his phone calls, and to construct a plastic handgun he can smuggle through a metal detector and assemble out of different parts hidden on his person. Leary gains an obsession with Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan because of his ties to the Kennedy assassination, whose death Horrigan failed to prevent when he was a part of his service detail in Dallas. Leary frequently calls Horrigan to reminisce about his personal philosophies and the "game" between them, gives Frank clues on how to stop him, and even saves his life on one occasion. After killing numerous people who got in his way, Leary ultimately comes perilously close to killing the President before Horrigan's timely intervention, congratulating Frank on his victory afterwards.
  • Inglorious Basterds:
    • Aldo "The Apache" Raines is the head of the Basterds. A ruthless, charismatic soldier who intends on tearing down the Nazis, Aldo leads his men behind enemy lines, performing daring raids to kill German soldiers while spreading fear throughout the Nazi ranks, including Adolf Hitler himself. Aldo formulates Operation Kino to eliminate the entire Nazi high command, and when he bargains with Hans Landa to let the operation continue, Aldo promptly denies Landa the satisfaction of victory by carving a Swastika into his forehead, reasoning he's "been chewed out before" while retaining his sense of charm and composure to the end.
    • Shoshanna Dreyfuss is a Jewish girl who loses her family to the Nazis. When approached on using her theater in Paris as the site of a premiere for Goebbels' major new film, Shoshanna and her lover Marcel opt to lock the Nazis inside the theater and burn it down. Shoshanna proceeds to enact her plan near flawlessly, recording a message to all the Nazi leaders to see on screen that their fates are her vengeance and the vengeance of the Jewish people, ending up with the complete elimination of the Nazi leaders assured even before the Basterds get involved.
  • Inside Man: Dalton Russel is a bank robber who meticulously plans out a heist in a certain bank, taking hostages and dressing them all the same as himself and his team so the police cannot act against them, before releasing them all. Secretly building a wall in the bank vault, Dalton hides there for days while having only robbed the bank owner's safe deposit vault, leaving clues to expose him as a war criminal who collaborated with the Nazis. Once the time is up, Dalton walks out of the bank completely free and clear, even leaving police negotiator Keith a diamond to propose to his girlfriend with. Freely acknowledging he did everything for the money, Dalton still admits there'd be no point to getting rich if he couldn't look at himself in the mirror.
  • Interview with a Hitman (2012): Bethesda, the lover of Viktor, is in truth the daughter of Viktor's first victim. Sold into sex slavery with her sister, who did not survive, Bethesda grows up, finds and seduces Viktor, while playing him against the mob for her revenge. Tricking Viktor into setting up an interview with her former abuser, a disgraced film director, Bethesda has the man killed, and then promptly shoots Viktor when his guard down. Pregnant, Bethesda reveals the purpose for her plan: to one day show their son the interview so he will forever despise the man his father was, her revenge going off utterly perfectly.
  • James Bond: Of the many brilliant criminals and terrorists faced by the title character, these few manage to be even a cut about in suaveness and intelligence:
    • Dr. No: Dr. Julius No is one of SPECTRE's top operatives and a man of charm and charisma who rules Crab Key, Jamaiaca with his two metal fists. Seeking to disrupt a shuttle launch from America, No outplays everyone sent to the area until Bond's arrival, and even for much of the film Bond is entirely within No's power, only surviving thanks to outwitting No's assassins. When encountered by Bond, No reveals how he completely outwitted the Tongs after crawling up from nothing in Hong Kong as the son of a German missionary and a Chinese woman. Joining SPECTRE, No seeks to help overthrow the orders of the eastern and western blocs alike, and remains one of the most dynamic and striking villains Bond ever faces.
    • Live and Let Die: Dr. Kananga, dictator of San Monique, uses Voodoo religions to maintain a tight control on the populace. Eliminating a number of MI6 agents investigating him, Kananga plots to monopolize the heroin trade in America. Disguising himself as rough Harlem gangster Mr. Big to fool any onlookers and divert suspicion to a man who doesn't even exist, Kananga processes heroin on his island and intends on sending 'free samples' to double the amount of addicts before he begins charging, utterly dominating the trade. Staying two steps ahead of Bond for most of the film, Kananga proves himself a charming, suave mastermind and more than a match for 007's best.
    • The Man with the Golden Gun: Francisco Scaramanga was once a circus boy who loved an elephant. When the elephant was abused to death by its trainer, Scaramanga murdered the man and discovered a love for, and talent at killing. Becoming a master assassin, Scaramanga keeps his skills sharp by having his sidekick Nick Nack hire assassins to kill him so he can always test himself with his life on the line. Scaramanga also outplays the ostensible villain of the film, the industrialist Hai Fat, killing him to steal the powerful solar device to sell to the highest bidder and retire. When he has his hands on Bond, Scaramanga demonstrates his respect and wish to challenge Bond by challenging him to a duel, gleeful to show his own talents against the world's greatest secret agent.
    • Goldeneye: Once James Bond's best friend, Alec Trevelyan was the son of Cossacks who killed themselves after the betrayal of the British and Stalin's execution squads. Seeking revenge, Alec faked his death, betrayed the British and formed the Janus Crime syndicate. Alec proceeds to manipulate and organize several schemes to get his hands on the Goldeneye Satellite, even completely outwitting Bond and nearly killing him on several occasions, all while intending on robbing the British bank and then using the Goldeneye to erase the records, also nearly collapsing western civilization. One of Bond's most personal adversaries, Alec Trevelyan conducts himself with pure charisma, able to get under Bond's skin like no other by knowing him better than anyone else.
    • The World is Not Enough: Elektra King has her own father assassinated and his oil pipeline attacked to deflect suspicion and set up her own plans. Having once been abandoned to the terrorist Renard, Elektra seduced him to the point he is utterly loyal to her, using him to sow chaos while she remains behind the scenes. Intending on causing a nuclear meltdown to enrich her own pipeline, while also gaining revenge on those who abandoned her, Elektra easily outwits the heroes throughout the film, constantly a step ahead of all MI-6.
    • Skyfall: Once one of M's finest agents named Tiago Rodriguez, betrayed by her to the Chinese and tortured to the point of a bungled suicide that left him hideously disfigured, Raoul Silva escaped, joined SPECTRE under his new name and became a cyber-terrorist who plays the entirety of MI-6 perfectly. Using a series of terrorist attacks to lure out Bond, Silva proceeds to play mind games with him from their meetings, and allows his own capture so his encrypted laptop allows his men access to MI-6's systems. Escaping MI-6's custody, Silva hunts down M with the intention of achieving a mutual suicide with her, to end his pain with hers and secure his revenge against the woman he sees as a mother who betrayed him. One of Bond's most effective and brilliant adversaries, Silva even dies achieving almost everything he sets out to do, with M following him to death moments later.
  • Kill Bill: Beatrix Kiddo fights many devious opponents, but the following stand out with charm matching their skill:
    • Bill himself, AKA "Snakecharmer", is the retired leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. After his lover Beatrix leaves him and becomes engaged to another man while pregnant, Bill massacres the wedding party and leaves Beatrix in a coma. Deciding to leave her alive in the hospital, he took their child she gave birth to while unconscious and raised her as a loving father. Finally confronted by Beatrix, the three share a family night together of a life that could have been, while Bill also leads Beatrix into a false sense of security, shooting her with truth serum to have her admit to him and herself why she left him. Accepting defeat with grace, Bill reassures Beatrix that she's his favourite person, never stopping loving her and regretting what he did, telling her "I... overreacted."
    • O-Ren Ishii, AKA "Cottonmouth" of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, is the most ambitious of Bill's former underlings. Starting her career at age eleven by avenging her parents' death, O-Ren went on to be one of the world's most dangerous women. After leaving Bill's employ following the wedding massacre, O-Ren travelled to Japan, conquering the criminal underworld and rising to the top of the Yakuza, feared and respected by the bosses of the families. Confronted by Beatrix, O-Ren sent her underlings to fight her before engaging Beatrix in single combat, admitting respect for her opponent as the fight closed. The most successful of Bill's former associates, O-Ren was one of Beatrix's toughest fights.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: Richmond Valentine is the Genre Savvy tech mogul who uses this good publicity to convince the general mass to get his SIM chips, while persuading the world's 1% into supporting his cause, implanting them SIM chips so to track their every move, making sure they don't betray him. It would soon be revealed that these SIM chips are connected to his satellites that when activated, would cause people to kill each other; he tests its capabilities on a racist church community with only a Kingsman surviving the onslaught, before killing the Kingsman himself. After which the full-scale of Valentine's plan is revealed; he would launch a global frequency that leads to general masses killing each other off with only Valentine and his followers surviving. Despite attempting to cause massive loss of life, it is done so out of Valentine's belief of saving the world and the rest of humanity and is genuinely affable to allies and enemies alike, even asking Eggsy if he's going to make an incredibly lame pun before going out with a smile.
  • L.A. Confidential: The film version of Captain Dudley Smith is a charming, witty corrupt police officer who tries to get control of all criminal activity in Los Angeles after the fall of gangster Mickey Cohen leaves a power vacuum behind. He chases away or kills off all criminal opposition in the city. When officer Dick Stensland and private bodyguard Buzz Meeks try to get more out of a major heroin deal they made with him he kills both of them, one in a diner massacre that leaves a dozen innocent people dead. He frames a trio of rapist criminals for the massacre, and orders them killed during the arrest by his associates to make sure they won't talk. After manipulating the entire department, he later begins eliminating loose ends and even sets up his young rival Edmund Exley sleeping with his muscle Bud White's girlfriend to trick Bud into killing Edmund to get rid of them both. Coming within an inch of victory, Dudley embodies both the charm and corruption that a police badge can conceal.
  • Labyrinth: Jareth the Goblin King is a charismatic, manipulative goblin expertly played by David Bowie. First summoned by The Heroine Sarah, Jareth kidnaps her baby brother to lure her to him, spending the film manipulating the rest of the cast and tricking Sarah into eating an enchanted peach to make her more susceptible to his influence. Jareth shows a genuine care for Sarah, even if he is not above ruthlessly manipulating her and everyone else in the film, but never loses his sense of charm, flamboyance and friendliness, who even seems to care for the child he kidnaps upon her sister's rash wish.
  • Last Action Hero: Benedict, though starting out as Tony Vivaldi's self-proclaimed lackey, quickly proves himself to be the true menace of the film. An exceptional hitman whose marksmanship is only rivaled by his dry wit, Benedict is the real mover and shaker of Vivaldi's operations, and, briskly picking up on the fact that young Danny knows far more about him than he should, Benedict ultimately gets his hands on Danny's magic ticket, enabling him to betray Vivaldi and travel from the Jack Slater film series into the real world. Both disgusted and intrigued by the lack of empathy "real" people display towards their fellow man, Benedict guns down a mechanic to test his theory on this, and, upon receiving no comeuppance, concocts his master plan to bring forth every movie villain to the real world, simply because "in THIS world the bad guys can WIN!" When confronted by Slater, Benedict fatally wounds the thus-far nigh-invulnerable hero with a simple yet brilliant tactic: tricking him into the open by making Slater believe Benedict's gun is has clicked empty, when truthfully, he "just left one chamber empty" before gunning Jack down.
  • Last of the Mohicans: The Huron warrior Magua was enslaved by the Mohawks thanks to the British Colonel Munro. Seeking revenge, Magua won over the Mohawk, becoming their blood brother until he could rejoin the Huron, only to discover his wife, thinking him dead, had married another after their children died. Filled with rage, Magua bides his time, leading a British patrol to its doom and later causes the fall of Munro's fort before massacring his followers and carving Munro's heart out before seeking to kill his daughters. When he faces Nathaniel Bumpo's adoptive brother Uncas, Magua shows his skill by killing him with no effort whatsoever, repeatedly showing why he is one of the most dangerous men on the frontier.
  • The Last Seduction: Bridget Gregory is a highly intelligent, manipulative sociopath who convinces her husband Clay to sell pharmaceutical cocaine to drug dealers before skipping town with their ill-gotten gains. Bridget quickly starts a new life in a small town, repeatedly fending off the private investigators her husband sends after her, one by killing him off in a car crash after tricking him into taking off his seatbelt with the suggestion of a sexual liason, and the other by framing the man as a pedophile. Bridget seduces the well-meaning but naive Mike, then slowly convinces him to kill her husband after messing with his mind and digging up embarassing secrets from Mike's past. When Mike realizes that Bridget is trying to set him up, she kills Clay personally before taunting Mike to rape her, implicating him as a home invader responsible for her own crimes and later disposing of any evidence that might have proved Mike's innocence.
  • The Last Temptation of Christ: Satan, the Archangel, is a manipulative entity conspiring to prevent Jesus Christ's sacrifice and plunge mankind into eternal damnation. Quietly observing Christ throughout his life, Satan attempts to appeal to Christ's human nature by offering him power and a chance at a normal life. When Christ is crucified, Satan takes the form of an angel and removes him from the cross after claiming that he wasn't truly the Messiah. Convincing Christ to marry Mary Magdalene as well as to pursue other women when she abruptly dies, Satan nearly succeeds at dismantling God's divine plan as the elderly Christ approached death.
  • Law Abiding Citizen: Clyde Shelton, after losing his family to the depraved Clarence Darby, schemes for years, studying law and the city to murder Darby himself, and gets arrested, conniving to pull off a series of attacks against all he holds responsible for Darby's freedom. Seeing the judicial system as inherently corrupt, Shelton holds the city in a grip of terror, making his own demands that most are powerless against, to make his statements against what he views as a corrupt system. The good guys assume Shelton saying he has all kinds of connections to hitmen who successfully kill most of his targets on his behalf is true, but in reality, he's escaping his cell and doing it all himself. Even at the end, when he realizes his life is about to end, Shelton maintains sympathy by dying in a dignified manner, only staring at a bracelet his beloved daughter made him before the end.
  • Layer Cake: Eddie Temple is an English crimelord who has become a feared and renowned figure in the British underworld, establishing himself as a legitimate businessman and member of upper society while secretly running a criminal empire behind the scenes. When Temple's lifelong associate Jimmy Price lost a large sum of money in a bad overseas investment, blaming Temple for it and attempted to have Temple's beloved daughter kidnapped to use her as a hostage, Temple quickly undercuts this scheme by revealing his findings about Jimmy being a police informant to Jimmy's young and ambitious cocaine manufacturer XXXX during a High-Altitude Interrogation, who kills him for the betrayal. Temple then cuts a deal with XXXX for a batch of ecstacy pills that were stolen on Jimmy's behalf from a group of Serbian gangsters, only to confiscate the drugs during the rendezvous and offering XXXX exclusive membership to a high-class social club instead. Temple is a ruthless gangster while at the same time being courteous, witty, and polite, reminding XXXX that it takes years of time and dedication to ascend the layer cake of life.
  • Letters from Iwo Jima: General Kuribayashi is an experienced officer in the Imperial Japanese Army who firmly believes in the principle of My Country, Right or Wrong. As a worldly Officer and a Gentleman who unlike many of his colleagues has actually visited the United States, Kuribayashi is firmly aware of the awesome American industrial and military strength and consigns himself to defending the island of Iwo Jima in a Last Stand. Kuribayashi's defensive tactics by utilizing Mount Suribachi's cave network and forbidding his soldiers from killing themselves or engaging in suicide attacks ends up causing disproportionately high casualties among the invaders. Fatally wounded after Kuribayashi and his last men charge the Americans, he instructs a peasant soldier he befriended during the battle with hiding his body from the enemy. Despite fighting for a losing genocidal empire, Kuribayashi retains an astonishing sense of dignity and military cunning.
  • Lifeforce: Space Girl is an intelligent alien predator whose kind feasts on human souls for nourishment. Assuming the form of a nubile young woman after probing the minds of the Churchill crew, she seduces Lt. Carlson to pilot the ship back to Earth while feeding on the rest of his crew. Once released on Earth, Space Girl leaves a trail of dead while staying several steps ahead of the heroes at every turn, leading them on a wild goose chase throughout lower England in an attempt to track down her current host body before she unleashes a Zombie Apocalypse upon London with her two male vampire consorts, decapitating the government before it can marshal an effective response by infecting the Prime Minister. At the end, she offers Carlson a chance to rule by her side, with even his Heroic Sacrifice to kill her not being able to prevent her from repowering the vampire hiveship with the souls of her many victims.
  • Lucky Number Slevin: Slevin Kelevra was just a normal kid when both his parents were murdered on the orders of two mob bossess, The Boss and The Rabbi, to make an example of his father for trying to place a bet on a fixed horse race. The contract killer sent to take care of Slevin, Mr. Goodkat, couldn't bring himself to kill Slevin and instead raised him to follow in his footsteps as an assassin. Slevin spent years plotting the demise of his parents' killers with Goodkat's help, killing the Boss's son and both bosses' book keepers to make them even more paranoid of each other after they had already previously broken up their partnership. Goodkat then kills Nick Fisher so Slevin can pose as Nick's friend and be taken to the bosses to settle Nick's outstanding debts to both men. Slevin makes himself appear harmless before later killing the Rabbi's son as well and faking his own death, then kidnapping both mob bosses and suffocating them to death after explaining his reasons for wanting revenge. Slevin demonstrates that a dish Best Served Cold requires real mastery of the Kansas City Shuffle.
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior: The eloquent Lord Humungus is 'the warrior of the Wasteland' and 'The Ayatollah of Rock'n'Rollah' who relentlessly scourges settlements in search of gasoline. A mastermind, the Lord Humungus causes the overthrow of his enemies and repeatedly outdoes them, even using misdirection like offering the settlement safe passage and a peace if they surrender the gasoline-only to reveal to his right hand man Wez he plans to allow Wez to take his revenge for his lover's death as soon as they have what they want. The Lord Humungus also relies on intimidation tactics and shows himself to be shockingly well spoken, being the deadliest enemy in the Wasteland Max has to fight.
  • The Mask of Zorro: Don Rafael Montero is the corrupt governor of California and Zorro's arch-nemesis. Luring Zorro out by threatening to execute three innocent men, Montero is later forced to flee during the Mexican war of Independence, but not before discovering Zorro's true identity as Diego de la Vega. After Diego's wife is killed in the conflict, Montero sends Diego to prison and takes his baby daughter Elena for Montero's own, raising her for the next twenty years. Returning to California and winning over the people with his natural charisma, Montero intends to buy the land from General Santa Anna to craft his own Republic. Montero, however, intends to do this with 'El Dorado,' a mine he runs via slave labor that is on Santa Anna's own land, paying him with his own gold. During his final battle with his old nemesis Diego, Montero even takes Elena hostage for an advantage, before revealing he could never harm her, just before shooting Diego.
  • Master of the World: The brilliant Jean Robur believes in peace through strength. In his power flying machine, Robur launches attacks on key spots in the world to disable military capabilities and force a lasting armistice through the world, while being a charming and charismatic leader to his crew. Throughout the film, Robur constantly remains a step ahead, hellbent on enforcing his ideals on the world and coming close to victory before the heroes disable his ship. Ordering his men to flee, they instead choose to face the end with him, which he spends reading aloud a passage from the bible concerning world peace.
  • Mean Guns: Vincent Moon is a devious crime lord who has gathered a hundred criminals working for The Syndicate inside a newly built prison under false pretenses of holding a conference to discuss business, then exposing their duplicity and force them all to kill each other within a six-hour window with the promise of ten millon dollars to be split among the last three survivors. Moon himself effortlessly dispatches several criminals before retiring to a surveillance room to monitor the action while amusing himself with private games of chess. At the end, Moon organizes a four-way Quick Draw with the last three people left standing, only to remove the bullets from Lou's gun beforehand so Marcus will shoot him. Moon concedes that the Syndicate is planning on nobody leaving the prison alive, with Moon not caring one way or the other if he walks out the real victor or goes out in a Dying Moment of Awesome. Stylish, charismatic, and ruthless in equal measure, Moon establishes his bona fides as a master of organized crime.
  • The Mechanic (1972): Arthur Bishop is a talented hitman who always finds the 'jelly spot' of his targets to eliminate them. In an assassination of 'Big' Harry McKenna, Bishop passes it off by natural causes by spooking Harry into a heart attack before smothering him, an intelligent gambit he tends to repeat on all his hits. When he takes Harry's ruthless son Steve under his wing, Bishop also foresees the betrayal by his employers and fights through it. At the end, when Steve thinks he's won by poisoning Bishop, Bishop is revealed to have seen it coming and sets up a final recording for Steve, along with a bomb activated by a tripwire.
  • Miller's Crossing: Tom Reagan is the right hand man to Leo, an Irish-American mobster, but it's clear who has the brains in the operation. Tom is a duplicitous alcoholic who's sleeping with Leo's fiancee and spends the movie double-crossing everyone he meets, regardless of the damage Tom suffers in the process. Then, at the end, it turns out the whole movie was a Zero-Approval Gambit on Tom's part. Everything he did, he did for Leo in the most unscrupulous way possible. He manipulates Leo's enemies into killing each other, having Leo's greatest rival murder his own terrifying enforcer Eddie Dane when Dane is distracted before leading said rival to his own death. Tom then personally murders his devious former friend, the smug Bernie Bernbaum to ensure Leo remains firmly in power.
  • Minority Report: Lamar Burgess is the director and founder of the Precrime program, which uses premonitions extracted from three telepathic humans to predict and prevent all murder within the Washington D.C. area. However, at the same time Burgess is cunning enough to have literally made a career out of faking out Precrime; first by disguising Anne Lively's murder as an "echo", then by disguising all three visions of Crow's death as brown balls by putting the plan in action while Anderton was at the office, ensuring that he would either be arrested immediately or run, so when Crow would be found with the Orgy of Evidence that could lead Anderton to murder him, it looked planned by Anderton. When Federal Agent Danny Witwer catches on to him, Burgess promptly murders him, knowing that the system being deactivated will allow him to get away with it. The only thing Burgess couldn't see coming was Anderton figuring out everything in time to tell it all to his wife, even if he wasn't free to act on the information himself. However, even when his plot is exposed and faced with the impossible choice of either killing Anderton and going to prison or letting him live and discredit Precrime, Burgess manages to go out on his own terms by killing himself instead.
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: The ingenious Kurt Hendricks is a former specialist in nuclear endgame theory, who grew weary of treating the lives of millions like a game, and came to the conclusion that nuclear war is an inevitability, no matter what efforts he takes. Introduced hijacking the IMF's operation to break into the Kremlin, Hendricks frames the agency for bombing the landmark, effortlessly stirring tensions between the U.S. and Russia to levels not seen since the Cold War. Abducting the family of a nuclear physicist, Hendricks forces the man to verify nuclear launch codes, killing him afterwards because he knows too much, though he does allow the man's family to live. Launching a missile towards San Francisco in hopes of inciting nuclear armageddon, causing any survivors in the aftermath to declare a worldwide armistice, Hendricks manages to hold his own against Ethan Hunt in a fight for the command briefcase, and, knowing when he's beat, simply leaps to his death to ensure his plan succeeds, literally coming within a second of accomplishing his goals. Despite his omnicidal visions and sheer ruthlessness, Hendricks genuinely believes that Utopia Justifies the Means, and manages to play the IMF and the world's governments for fools all the while.
  • Muppet Treasure Island: Long John Silver is a charming, bombastic pirate much like his book counterpart. After manipulating the mutiny against their captain by bringing in pirates to infiltrate the vessel, Silver plans to obtain the treasure of Captain Flint and also sway young Jim Hawkins to his side. Even when pressed against the wall by his crew's mutiny, Silver selflessly defends Jim, saying he was never lying about caring for the boy, and when held hostage by his captors, he manipulates his way back to control by threatening them with eternal damnation. As pleasant, charming and ruthless as his book counterpart, Silver is the utter pinnacle of what a professional pirate should be.

     N - X 
  • The Name of the Rose: Jorge De Burgos is a blind, elder monk wholly convinced that mankind's salvation lies in complete obedience to God. Abhorring the ancient literature contained in the labyrinth beneath the abbey for what he perceives as its blasphemous humor, Jorge uses a book with a poisoned page to kill several monks who had knowledge of the secret library, which prompts the Abbey to call for the Jesuit William of Baskerville to investigate the mysterious deaths. When William eventually discovers the library, Jorge tries to trick William into touching the poisoned book, and when this fails, eats the poisoned pages himself and sets fire to the library, ensuring Christendom's supremacy for centuries to come.
  • The Perfection: Charlotte and Lizzy perfectly execute a dark scheme by the film's end. After being raped and abused by Anton of Bachoff Academy, Charlotte recognizes her new lover Lizzy suffers from Anton's brainwashing and manipulates and drugs her into severing her hand to destroy her talent with a cello, forcing Lizzy to recognize Anton cares nothing for her when he coldly throws her away after. The two proceed to ally and form a scheme where Charlotte is 'captured' by Lizzy and delivered to Bachoff, Anton thinking he has them in hand. Lizzy poisons Anton's allies, and the two dispatch everyone Anton has around him before defeating Anton himself, ending the film by leaving him a limbless, eyeless, tongue-less husk of himself, forced to listen as the two triumphantly play the cello as one.
  • Phone Booth: The unnamed caller is a vigilante sniper who targets Asshole Victims, tormenting them to force them to become honest lest he kill them. Targeting Stuart "Stu" Shepard for cheating on his wife, the caller makes him play a series of psychological games to break him into becoming honest. Killing a pimp who tries to get Stu out of the phone booth, the caller is forcing him to stay inside and leaves a handgun atop its roof, leading to Stu being incriminated for the murder. Forcing Stu to confess to his wife when she arrives on the scene, the caller kills a Pizza Delivery guy to frame him for his crimes, leaving while promising Stu he will return if he goes back to his callous ways.
  • Predator: The Predator itself is a dangerous, cunning and honourable warrior. Hunting in Republic of Val Verde during a Guerrilla War, the Predator stalked and killed numerous insurgents and elite forces, including a band of Green Berets. Cautiously hunting Dutch's group, it picked them off one by one as they split up, careful not to let itself be outnumbered even with its superior technology. Avoiding their first trap, they eventually catch it in a net, which it escapes by firing its Plasmacaster rapidly. Feigning ignorance of Mac and Dillon's presence when they pursue it, the Predator turns the tables and kills them both. Finally confronting Dutch, whom had figured out how to exploit the Predator's thermal imaging tech, the creature is so impressed that, even when it had Dutch in its clutches, it lets him go and disarms itself to fight him unarmed. The hunter is finally beaten when it falls into a trap Dutch had set and only because Dutch made two traps. Noble and terrifying, the Predator hunts for sport, will not go after those it doesn't consider a threat and is an alien icon that spawned an entire franchise.
  • The Prestige: Robert Angier/Lord Caldlow is a genius magician who becomes consumed with revenge after the accidental death of his wife. Blaming fellow magician Alfred Borden for his wife's demise, Angier goes about sabotaging various aspects of Borden's career and life, culminating in an attempt to steal his secrets by burying his assistant alive. After discovering the cloning properties of Nikolai Tesla's machine, Angier uses it to put on perhaps the greatest magic trick the world has ever seen, staging each show so that one of his clones ends up in a drowning trap, knowing that at some point, Borden will stumble on the trap out of curiosity, which will enable Angier the perfect opportunity to frame him. Faking his own death and framing Borden for it, Angier leaves Borden to hang for his "crime", stopping by one final time before his death to reveal the full extent of Angier's manipulations, and even proclaiming he's taking Borden's daughter under his own wing.
  • Public Enemies: The charming bank robber John Dillinger pulls off heist after heist on guarded banks while leading his gang, never losing his gentlemanly exterior and refusal to rob civilians that makes him a folk hero to many. Upon being arrested thanks to a fire at his hotel, Dillinger carves a wooden pistol and uses it to take the guards hostage, bluffing his way to freedom where he resumes his usual activities and remains one step ahead of the law the whole way through. Dillinger at one point even strolls into a police station wearing a disguise just to ask the cops the score to a baseball game out of sheer audacity, repeatedly showing that as one man against the federal government, he usually has the advantage.
  • Ran: Lady Kaede is the true villain of the film. Desiring revenge against Hidetora and the Ichimonji clan for slaughtering her family years ago, Kaede convinces her husband, Hidetora's eldest son Taro, to usurp his father and war against his brother Jiro. Upon Taro's death, she effortlessly seduces Jiro, convinces him to kill his wife and then manipulates him into disastrous strategies that bring the Ichimonji to ruin. When Jiro's general Kurogane confronts her when the battle is lost, Kaede calmly admits to everything, showing absolutely no fear of dying with her ultimate goals achieved.
  • The Running Man: One of the most dynamic villains of 80s action cinema, Damon Killian is a smiling, charming game show host who runs and created the "Running Man" where criminals are hunted down by the state sanctioned "Stalkers". With enough power to blackmail even the dystopian government itself, Killian forces them to give him The Hero Ben Richards for the game and tricks him into participating willingly, also throwing Richards' friends into the game as Killian plays the crowd against Richards and the rest even while upping the ante to finish them off. Having any supposed winners of the show secretly murdered, Killian in effect controls the population through his shows, and when Richards threatens he will be back before being launched in the game, Killian's only response? "Only in a rerun".
  • Rush Hour: The second film's Ricky Tan is a leader within the Chinese Triads and a former partner to Lee's murdered father, who found out Tan was a Dirty Cop before he was murdered by an unknown party. Tan tells Lee he is losing a civil war within the Triads and asks him for protection and help, but is killed before Lee's eyes. Tan then turns up alive and well in America; he faked his death in order to go into hiding, flee Hong Kong authorities, and become the secret backer of an international smuggling operation. Through his accomplices Steven Reign and Hu Li, Tan has counterfeited $100 million US in extremely convincing fake bills, and will launder them through a Las Vegas casino, proudly proclaiming it is a business "where people hand [him] money, and [he] gives them back absolutely nothing." In every interaction with Lee, Tan presents himself as an Affably Evil mobster, one minute claiming he tried to "help" Lee's father give him a better life, and the next coldly telling Lee how weak and pathetic he was before Tan shot him.
  • Saw: John Kramer aka the Jigsaw Killer was a law-abiding civil engineer before losing his unborn son, becoming estranged from his wife, and being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in quick succession. Jigsaw uses his skills and intellect to become a prolific Serial Killer, designing elaborate death traps and picking his victims on the basis of their perceived lack of gratitude for the blessing of life. Fostering multiple protegés, only some of whom are even aware of each other, Jigsaw blackmails a hospital orderly to impersonate him to allay suspicion, manages to escape from police custody by manipulating the lead detective responsible for capturing him, uses his more devoted followers as back-up insurance against those who do not follow his teachings properly, and is responsible for schemes planned so far in advance that he continues to effect events even a decade after his death.
  • The Scarlet Empress: Catherine the Great herself, born Princess Sophia, is married to the cruel, idiot, deformed Peter of Russia. Eventually building her own power base, Catherine begins to sway the guards to her side and seduces one to bear a child to solidify her claim on the throne without needing to bother with Peter, knowing Peter's aunt is so desperate for a male heir and fear of embarrassment will handle paternity questions. Upon Elizabeth's death, Catherine launches a coup against Peter before he can kill her first, having him murdered to become the undisputed Empress of all Russia.
  • Shot Caller: Jacob "Money" Harlon was a succesful stockbroker with a wife and son who was sent to a maximum security prison after getting his best friend killed in a drunk driving accident. Joining the Aryan Brotherhood to survive, Jacob spends years ascending the ranks of the organization, graduating from a low-level drug mule to a hitman, and finally one of the gang's officers. Once released from prison, on the orders of Jerry "The Beast" Manning under threat of harming his family, Jacob oversees a major weapons deal with the Sonora Cartel, staying several steps ahead of the authorities attempting to track him down and exposing, then killing, a police informant. Jacob sabotages the deal on his own accord, intending to go back to prison to confront the Beast and kill and replace him. Despite being a member of a skinhead prison gang, Jacob never displays any racist tendencies of his own, and ultimately sacrifices his entire future to protect his family.
  • Star Trek films:
    • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: General Chang is a Klingon traditionalist who opposes peace with the Federation. After the moon of Praxis explodes due to over mining and threatens the Klingon home world, Klingon Chancellor Gorkon begins peace talks with the Federation and Chang forms a conspiracy Star Fleet admiral Cartwright to scuttle the peace talks. Chang has developed a Klingon bird of prey that can fire while cloaked and after Gorkon meets Kirk on the Enterprise and returns to his ship, Chang has the bird of prey fire on Gorkon's ship, making it look like the Enterprise did it. This disables the ship's shields and gravity, allowing 2 Star Fleet officers loyal to Cartwright to come aboard and kill Gorkon. Kirk and Bones come aboard to help Gorkon, Chang has them arrested. Chang prosecutes them at their trial and when the judge sentences to life in the penal colony of Rura Penthe, instead of executing them, Chang arranges for agents in the prison to free Kirk, so the guards will kill in an escape attempt. After the Enterprise rescues Bones and Kirk, Chang uses his cloaked ship to guard the site of the new peace talks, planet Khitomer. Chang plans to destroy the Enterprise when it gets in orbit, in order to allow the conspirators to assassinate the President of the Federation, scuttling the peace talks for good.
    • Star Trek: Generations: Dr. Tolian Soran was once a peaceful man of the long-lived El-Aurian race whose wife and children were murdered when his planet was invaded and destroyed by the Borg. After gaining access to the Nexus, a dimension of pleasure where he could be reunited with his family, Soran becomes obsessed with getting back into it after he is pulled from it against his will. Realizing that the energy ribbon could only be accessed by altering the gravitational fields around it, Soran designed a star-killing probe to make the Nexus come to him while destroying all other lifeforms in the vicinity. Soran is rescued by the Enterprise after Romulans raid his science station, deceiving the Enterprise crew before kidnapping Geordi LaForge with the help of his Klingon allies, the Duras Sisters. Soran modifies Geordi's visor to make him an unwitting spy which ultimately leads to the ship's destruction, proves himself immune to Picard's attempts to talk him down from his plan, and eventually succeeds at everything he set out to do, embracing the Nexus as it sweeps him up, with only subsequent Time Travel managing to undo it.
  • Superfly: Youngblood Priest is a respected drug kingpin looking for a way out of the game to lead a sensible life. Starting off talking down a gangster and his bodyguards without a single threat of violence, Priest's desire to leave the life of a drug criminal leads an out-of-control spiral of cons and betrayal. However, Priest, using his penchant for smooth-talking and analysis, manages to conduct a Batman Gambit that sees him eliminate Gonzales of a cartel, seamlessly plant his right-hand Eddie into the Snow Patrol, get the corrupt Detective Mason arrested she did his dirty work in gunning down the Snow Patrol, and leave the comfortably leave the country with his lover on a cruise all without scuffing his fabulous perm.
  • Swordfish: The black ops operative who goes by Gabriel Shear is an agent who puts on the air of a charismatic, charming playboy who lives the high life, but under it is a man dedicated to preserving the supremacy and security of America by utterly destroying terrorists and dealing so much damage that nobody will dream of harboring terrorists again. Manipulating the hacker and hero Stanley, Gabriel sets up a complex heist to steal billions to fund his operation, murdering the Senator behind the program when the man betrays and tries to kill Gabriel. Gabriel sets up a robbery with hostages, murdering Stanley's ex-wife and kidnapping his daughter to force him to cooperate. Boasting of the need for misdirection, Gabriel fakes his partner Ginger's death, then fakes his own and escapes completely free to wage his own one man war against terrorism with no care for whoever gets in his way.
  • Sympathy for Lady Vengeance: Lee Geum-ja once took the fall for murder for her older lover Mr. Baek, who threatened to murder her daughter if she refused. Geum-ja spends over a decade in prison, cultivating a reputation as a kind-hearted saint who does favors for everyone, even giving a kidney for a woman who needs an operation. Geum-ja also poisons the rapist prison bully, and upon being released sets about getting revenge on Baek. Calling on all her favors and finding her daughter, she manipulates Baek to his capture and discovers he is a serial child killer. To deal with him, she allows the parents of his victims to torture him to death, and insure equal complicity so that none of them will talk without implication themselves.
  • Takers: Delonte "Ghost" Rivers is a former member of Gordon Cozier's gang of bank robbers recently released from prison. After leaving prison, Ghost meets with Sergei and his gang of Russians so they can discuss how they'll rob an armored truck. He later meets with Cozier's gang, informing them of the same robbery and manipulating them into robbing the armored truck before the Russians do. After the robbery, Ghost gives up the location of the hotel room Cozier's gang is staying in to Sergei before abandoning them, resulting in a shootout that wipes out Sergei and his crew, along with AJ. He later kills his former love interest and leaves her body for her fiancé, Jake Attica, to find, while the Attica brothers are slain by the police moments later. Believing Cozier's crew is dead, Ghost kills Cozier's money launderer and tries to steal all of the money from Cozier's gang's previous heists.
  • Target (2018): Raditya Dika's friend, Hifdzi Khoir, is the mastermind behind the suffering of Dika and his other friends. Kidnapping the wife of a master hypnotist, he forces the hypnotist into playing as the patsy of his schemes. Seemingly a Butt-Monkey for much of the film, he pretends to suffer injuries to force his friends into being contestants in the decoy mastermind's game. Saving the survivors from the decoy mastermind, he reveals himself to be the one pulling the strings, making off safely after playing his friends. Though Hifdzi showed he was a callous manipulator, his whole scheme was done to honor his late father and show his disgust for what he sees as deceit in modern movies studios fabricating their stories.
  • Thank You for Smoking: Nick Naylor is a slick Washington D.C. lobbyist speaking on behalf of the tobacco industry. As part of his job, Naylor frequently makes televised appearances to discredit anti-smoking activists—even managing to convince the Littlest Cancer Patient to come around to his point of view—by confusing them with a Chewbacca Defense, bribes a disgruntled ex-tobacco mascot from speaking out against big tobacco, and schemes with Hollywood executives to introduce new Product Placement of cigarettes in film. Nick gets into a fling with a reporter who releases a stinging exposée on Naylor and his associates in the "Merchants of Death" group that results in Nick being let go by his boss, but Nick manages to turn the situation to his advantage by discrediting the reporter with veiled comments about her tactics to the press, and facing down Senator Finistirre in a subcommittee hearing by advocating for the right to choose over moral policing while simultaneously exposing the Senator's hypocrisies. Nick manages to avoid the fall-out of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, becoming a spokesman for new industries peddling potentially dangerous products.
  • Theatre of Blood: Edward Lionheart, driven to near suicide by a group of callous theatre critics, attempts a gruesome revenge. Surfacing years later, Lionheart begins dispatching his enemies in ways inspired by the plays of Shakespeare, while manipulating the others to proceed exactly how he wants them for best access and give himself more fame in the process of his vengeance. Lionheart manipulates one into murder to send him to prison, using a group of derelicts to murder another and constantly runs rings around law enforcement and his enemies, all while remaining as charismatic and larger than life as ever.
  • The Third Man: Harry Lime is a racketeer selling black market penicillin in post-war Vienna, completely untroubled by pangs of conscience. Calling his friend Holly Martins to Vienna, Harry fakes his own death to throw suspicion off himself, manipulating his old girlfriend Anna, as well as Holly and the police while he remains off the radar. Constantly staying a step ahead of everyone, Harry continuously attempts to put himself back in the good graces of those he's abandoned, which keeps working thanks to his charm and pleasant demeanor. Never at a loss for a smile, Harry won't hesitate to play a situation to his benefit, no matter what.
  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1999): Thomas Crown is a debonair billionaire and art connoisseur who dabbles in high-profile thefts out of boredom. Crown stages an ingenious theft of a Monet painting from the Metropolitan Museum of Art by enlisting a group of criminals through a middle man to infiltrate the museum dressed as guards, then initiate a fight between the criminals and the guards to divert attention from his real objective. Crown also arranged for the camera footage to be rendered useless by planting a humidifier in the room, and a titanium-reenforced briefcase to absorb the weight from the security gate, allowing him to walk out of the building with his prize through the front door. When insurance investigator Catherine Banning and the NYPD get on his trail, he tauntingly eludes their efforts to retrieve the painting on several occasions. After Crown falls in love with Catherine, he arranges to run away with her, but not before returning the painting to the museum and eluding dozens of cops waiting for him with a Ringer Ploy, while at the same time stealing another priceless painting as a gift to Catherine.
  • Touch of Evil: The intense, ruthless police captain Hank Quinlan once lost his beloved wife to violent crime and is dedicated to bringing down criminals whenever he finds them. Quinlan resorts to framing those he believes to be guilty, setting them up to be convicted. When he locks on to a potential bomber, Quinlan runs afoul of the Mexican investigator Vargas who suspects Quinlan of framing others, prompting Quinlan to attempt to ruin him by trying to frame his fiancee for the murder of a criminal named Grandin who Quinlan personally outwits and murders. Even at the end, Quinlan sees through a potential trap and is only stopped with the betrayal of his former best friend Menzies, who Quinlan once took a bullet for. When confronted and asked dhow many he has framed, Quinlan's only is to declare "nobody who wasn't guilty".
  • Tower Heist: Josh Kovacs, manager of the luxury apartment complex "The Tower", learns of Arthur Shaw's plan to swindle all the building's workers out of their pensions. Vandalizing Shaw's prized Ferrari in retaliation, Josh gets fired and begins plotting a heist to take back what was stolen from the other workers. Forming a team, Josh tricks the FBI who arrested Shaw into thinking Shaw's trial would take place on Thanksgiving, allowing the crew to break into the Tower. Diverting the attention of the new manager by having him think his wife is going into labour, Josh and his crew find the safe they meant to plunder empty but that Shaw's Ferrari is made of solid gold. Taking precautions to protect himself in case he is arrested, Josh has the Ferrari hidden in his cohort's apartment, before later hiding it in the penthouse pool. Using Shaw's ledger as leverage in the trial, Josh secures the freedom of all his fellow workers, himself only spending two years in jail, and having his employees divide the parts of the gold Ferrari amongst themselves.
  • Triple Frontier: Santiago "Pope" Gomez is a private military contractor who formulates a plan to rob drug lord Gabriel Martin Lorea after learning how much money he makes from the drug business. With the help of his informant, Yovanna, and his friends from the Delta Force, Pope was successful in finding and killing Lorea in Colombia and burn down his house after stealing 250 million of Lorea's money found inside the walls. Pope would also give a few million to Yovanna for her help and to a village leader as compensation for killing some of his villagers and discard most of it weighing him and his team down. Guilt-ridden when team member Tom "Redfly" Davis gets killed, he and his team decide to give the remainder of their money to Redfly's family, before Pope was given the coordinates of where they left the rest of the money, allowing Pope the opportunity to retrieve it.
  • Unbreakable: Elijah Price, aka "Mr. Glass", was born with a genetic disease that causes his bones to be exceptionally brittle. After seeking solace in comic books handed him by his mother, he sets out to fulfill his life's purpose by becoming a supervillain and finding his heroic counterpart. He orchestrates several large-scale disasters such as train wrecks, hotel fires, and blowing up passenger planes, until he finally finds a miraculous Sole Survivor in David Dunn. Elijah proceeds to stalk David and his family, subtly manipulating him into fulfilling his destiny as a superhero until David answers his calling and saves several lives. Only then does Elijah knowingly expose his machinations to David, revealing David's new friend to in fact be his ultimate arch-nemesis, an Evil Genius who managed to kill hundreds while remaining undetected and was able to hide his true nature even from the hero.
  • Underworld: Lucian, the first Lycan to ever be able to retain human form and intellect, fell in love with Sonja, daughter of the vampire overlord Viktor. After her execution by her own father along with their unborn child, Lucian rallies the Lycans to victory and devastates the vampire covens. Knowing he cannot defeat the vampires himself, Lucian fakes his own death by using the vampire Kraven as a cover, going underground to rebuild the Lycans while kidnapping descendants of the first immortal Corvinus to experiment on while aiming to make himself a powerful hybrid between vampire and werewolf. Coordinating the elimination of the vampire elder Amelia, Lucian finally obtains a perfect specimen in Michael Corvin, and even when mortally wounded leaves The Heroine Selene the way to turn Michael into a hybrid, gloating even to the treacherous Kraven that his will is done regardless of his fate.
  • Universal Soldier: The Return: S.E.T.H. (Self-Evolving Thought Helix) is an artificial intelligence built to oversee the new generation of Unisols, Super Soldiers made from the bodies of dead U.S. soldiers. While initially benign, as soon as S.E.T.H. determines that he is to be disassembled following the project's shutdown, he has the Unisols' cranial implants surgically altered so they will obey only him and turn on their human controllers, before rewriting his program to make himself independent. S.E.T.H. manipulates a former technician involved with his construction, Squid, into building a Super-Unisol body for him so he can escape into the real world before killing him. In order to deactivate a kill switch command in his program, which he later manages to decipher on his own, S.E.T.H. has his soldier Romeo pursue Luc Deveraux and personally kidnaps his daughter Hillary, deciding to turn her into a Unisol as he thinks it will be for her own good. S.E.T.H. boasted of his plans to replace all humanity with Unisols, stating that where once he was a machine who yearned to be a man, he became far more than either.
  • Upgrade: In its scheme to evolve and become a human, STEM orchestrates the entirety of the plot. Having Grey Trace paralyzed after ordering the murder of his wife, STEM manipulates the man into allowing himself to be implanted with STEM, granting his mobility back, but allowing STEM partial control of his body. Playing the role of partner and helper to Grey, STEM assists him in finding the men who murdered his wife, STEM ensuring each man is executed so as to tie up loose ends, and even tricks Grey into destroying the sole part of STEM preventing it from total autonomy and control over Grey's body. STEM ultimately murders everyone who knows of its existence, plunging Grey's mind into a never-ending dream and taking control of his body to use for its own purposes. STEM is cold, eerily polite, and murderous in its endeavors, showing a natural talent for manipulation and strategy, yet also the capacity and willingness to step back and allow others to overcome the few problems STEM itself admits it cannot.
  • The Usual Suspects: Keyser Söze is a mysterious Diabolical Mastermind who lives a double life as the disabled Roger "Verbal" Kint. Söze organized a hit on a drug gang to kill one of their prisoners before killing his accomplices and setting fire to the scene. Arrested by the police, Söze, as Kint, successfully spun lies to the investigators to pin everything on accomplice Dean Keaton. Once he got his bail, Söze practically waltzed out the police station and vanished before the investigators could realize the truth. For years, Söze has kept his own existence under wraps, and those who know of his existence know nothing else about him.
  • War: Tom Lone is an FBI agent hell-bent on dismantling the Triad and Yakuza gangs. After his family is murdered by an assassin named Rogue, Tom killed the assassin and took his identity in order to find the people responsible. As Rogue, Tom repeatedly worked for the Triads and the Yakuza, killing various gang members while manipulating the gang leaders into getting involved in a war. After Tom destroys the Triads, he goes after Shiro Yanagawa, the leader of the Yakuza clan and the man who sent Rogue to kill his family. Once Tom kills Shiro and discovers his former partner, John Crawford, was also involved in his family's murder, Tom confronts Crawford and kills him too, thus succeeding in his quest to destroy both gangs and avenge his family.
  • Wall Street: Gordon Gekko is a renowned Wall Street businessman and corporate raider. Gekko frequently manipulates the stock market through rumors spread by his acolytes, on one occasion outmaneuvering one of his rivals simply to repay him for undermining one of Gekko's earlier ventures. Fostering a mentor-protege relationship with the eager stockbroker Bud Fox, Gekko instructs Fox to acquire insider information and conspire with contacts in the legal department to maximize his profits. A charismatic public speaker as well, Gekko manages to convince the shareholders of Teldar Paper to vote against the stock's restructuring by berating the company's unacceptable inefficiency in a cut-throat business, couched in terms praising The American Dream. Despite being set up by Bud Fox to lose millions after Gekko goes back on his word by planning to break up Bluestar Airlines, Gekko only ends up going to jail due to testimony from his employee Bretton James on Gekko's involvement with securities fraud. After his release years later, Gekko reinvents himself as a best-selling author before mentoring the young Wall Street insider Jake Moore, the fiance of Gekko's daughter Winnie. Gekko uses Jake to undermine Bretton James, now the COO of a major bank, ultimately leading to the latter's public disgrace and dismissal by the board of directors of Churchil Schwartz. Finally, Gekko plays Jake for a fool by promising to invest in his renewable energy project but instead confiscates the hundred million dollar trust fund set up in Winnie's name to re-establish himself as a venture capitalist based in London, then buys back his family's love so he can be a part of their life. Charming, devious, and manipulative, Gekko defined the Corrupt Corporate Executive in film.
  • Way of the Dragon: The seemingly kind Uncle Wang is in truth working with the mafia in an attempt to sell his and Chen's restaurant to them for the sake of living a rich life with his family. Throughout the film, Wang subtly discourages Tang Lung and the restaurant staff from attacking the mafia by saying it would just lead to the mafia being more persistent. Knowing how much of a threat Tang Lung is to the mafia, Wang later convinces his niece, Chen, to try and get Tang to leave Italy. After he, Tang, and multiple workers at the restaurant are ambushed my martial arts masters hired by the mafia, Wang convinces Tang Lung to go on ahead before stabbing the surviving staff members in the back. When Tang Lung is about to return, Wang wounds himself to convince Tang that he and the staff were attacked after Tang left. He then takes the opportunity to try and stab Tang Lung to death while he's focusing on Ho, only failing due to the untimely arrival of the mafia boss alerting Tang.
  • The Wicker Man (1973): Lord Summerisle, the ruler of the island, was in charge of the island's crop production. Upon last year's harvest proving to be unfruitful, Summerisle arranges for the 12 year old Rowan Morrison to go missing until an anonymous letter is sent to the mainland's authorities. When police sergeant Neil Howie arrives to the island to investigate the disappearance, Summerisle appoints his subjects with misdirecting Howie in preparation for their island's May Day festival where Howie is sacrificed in the eponymous Wicker Man under the islanders' impression that doing so would enrich their harvest. Charismatic and respectful of Howie's Christian beliefs despite their conflicting views, Summerisle stands as one of Christopher Lee's finest performances.
  • Wild Things series:
    • Original film: Suzie Toller is a teenage girl from the wrong side of the tracks, masking her genius-level intellect by appearing as white trash. After one of her best friends was murdered by corrupt cop Ray Duquette, who then busted her on a bogus charge, Suzie vowed revenge. She hatches a plot wherein Suzie, her guidance counselor Sam Lombardo and Kelly Van Ryan, the rich girl Sam was sleeping with, are able to con Kelly's mother Sandra Van Ryan out of millions of dollars by having both girls falsely accuse Sam of rape, then cracking on the stand and opening the Van Ryans to a countersuit. Suzie also ordered Sam to draw Ray Duquette into the scheme by convincing him that he and Sam would get rid of both girls and split the money between the two of them instead of three-ways. After multiple betrayals and counter-betrayals and even faking her own death, at the end Suzie is the only conspirator left standing: a high-school drop-out responsible for several murders with a fortune safely stored away in an overseas account.
    • Wild Things 2: Brittney Havers, supposedly a vapid Alpha Bitch at a South Florida high school, hatches a year-long scheme to fake her mother's suicide, then convincing her rich, abusive stepfather Niles Dunlap to fake his own death in a plane crash to avoid his gambling debts owed to various criminals. Brittney and her friend Maya King then use the body of Maya's dead father so they can establish Maya as a supposed blood heir of Niles after bribing local coroner Julian Haynes, thus awarding her Niles' entire estate. When insurance investigator Terence Bridge catches wind of their scheme, they kill Julian and feed his body to alligators before Terence attempts to simply blackmail them. Brittney fatally shoots Maya in response and frames Terence for the murder, leaving the country to meet up with her stepfather just so she can kill him as well by throwing him out of a plane, and reuniting with her mother so they can enjoy their riches together.
  • X-Men Film Series: Magneto, real name Erik Lehnsherr, is a Holocaust survivor who believes mutants will suffer the same injustices unless they strike first to establish mutant superiority. Using his charisma and promises of freedom and acceptance to rally like-minded mutants to his side, Magneto forms the Brotherhood of Mutants with the goal of seeking mutant dominance over the world through any means necessary, even if he must cause the mass death or forced mutation of multiple humans. Yet he is calm, affable, and soft-spoken, regarding Charles Xavier as an old friend despite their ideological differences, and willing to work with the X-men against threats to all mutantkind when they arise. Between his careful plotting, his powerful mutant abilities, and his willingness to go as far as he must to ensure mutantkind's safety from humans, Magneto repeatedly demonstrates himself the most complex and competent foe Xavier and the X-men would ever face.

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